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OS enhances Greenspace map layer with greater detail to help the nation GetOutside

3 Jun 2020

The popular greenspace layer in OS Maps has been updated to include over 60,000 features to help people GetOutside.

During lockdown use of OS Greenspace layer in OS Maps has seen a massive spike in popularity, with over ten times more users of the map in April 2020 compared to last year (an increase of 1,161%).

The layer has been helping people across Great Britain to find local greenspaces, including parks and public gardens.

The OS Greenspace layer now details 4,367 parcels of land as nature reserves in GB, 504 parcels of land as country parks, and 55,907 separate parcels as access land under the terms of the Countryside Rights of Way Act.

The extra level of detail is designed to make it easier for people to find alternative green spaces to spend time outside where possible.*

The data shows country parks cover 0.24% of the country, nature reserves cover 1.52% and access land covers 4.45%.

Full list of categories of OS Greenspace now depicted in OS Maps:

  • Public park or gardens;
  • Play space:
  • Playing field;
  • Sports;
  • Golf course;
  • Allotments or community growing space;
  • Religious grounds and cemeteries;
  • Country parks;
  • Nature reserve; and
  • Access land (Countryside Rights of Way Act).

Nick Giles, Managing Director of Ordnance Survey Leisure, said: “We have witnessed a huge growth of interest in our mapping, both OS Maps and paper maps, since the country went into lockdown.

“To serve this demand, we have worked hard behind the scenes to enhance the OS Greenspace layer and show green spaces in greater depth.

“Nature reserves and access land can be a way of avoiding the crowds as they are often lesser known than some of the more popular parks and National Parks so there’s fewer people around.

“And if people are looking to avoid public transport on their daily commute, this can be a way of planning a more pleasant route to work.”

OS Greenspace is a free map layer available in OS Maps.

All of the 10 different greenspace categories have been depicted with their own colour, and can be viewed on the web version of OS Maps.

Recent analysis of OS greenspace data estimates that more than a quarter of people (28%) in Great Britain live within a five-minute walk (300m as the crow flies) of a public park, while 72% live fewer than 15 minutes away (900m).

This rises to 52% and 95% respectively when playing fields are included, although some of these may be private and not publicly accessible.

Despite being least likely to have access to a private garden, people living in London are most likely to have a park nearby.

OS data show that 44% of Londoners live within a five-minute walk of a park, rising to 58% including playing fields.

Both are the highest of any region or country in Great Britain.

*Not every green space depicted in OS maps is accessible for the public to visit. Some locations, such as particular nature reserves, have restrictions so visitors should pay attention to signs.

Ordnance Survey
By Ordnance Survey
Press Office

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